Tech press abuzz over Apple's iPhone plans

AppleSan Francisco  - An iPhone Lite? Or perhaps an iPad? Whatever new device Apple has up its sleeve, the US technology press is wasting no time in speculating on its identity.

From the heights of the Wall Street Journal to the unending chatter of a thousand blog-postings, the speculation reached a crescendo Wednesday after a BusinessWeek article that the company was in talks with US cell phone giant Verizon to provide "a smaller cheaper version of the iPhone" and a second device described as a "media pad that would let users listen to music, view photos, and watch high-definition videos."

The report came as Apple is negotiating an extension of its exclusive iPhone contract with Verizon rival AT&T, and could just be a method to wring better terms from he largest telecommunications company in the US, experts said.

However Apple, which has sold more than 20 million iPhones since launching the device in 2007, may not have things all its own way. According to many other reports, Microsoft is working with Verizon to create an "iPhone killer" code-named Pink.

Microsoft would build a new version of its Windows Mobile software for the new device which would be made by a third party manufacturer, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Google's Android operating system is also picking up momentum. So far it has featured only in one phone, the G1, distributed by T-Mobile in the US, UK and Germany, selling well over one million units in its first six months on the market.

A software update released this month should boost the popularity of the phone which is likely to be joined by other Android devices within weeks.

T-Mobile is set to debut the G2, a smaller version of the G1, while Korean electronics giant is also set to release an Android device in June. Acer is also reported to be working on several Android devices, while Hewlett Packard is developing mini-laptops using the Google operating system.

All in all, it's a dynamic time for mobile computing, says one senior US cellphone executive. "If you are thinking of buying a phone now my advice is to wait for a few months," he said. "There are going to be some incredible new devices coming out this summer." (dpa)




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